23 Dec 2007

Photographing Christmas

Okay, let’s get a bit festive and look at how to produce a couple of simple, atmospheric pictures this Christmas.

I put the camera on a tripod. A flash unit was hidden away on the fireplace behind the couple. I didn’t bother setting up flash synch cables or infra-red gizmos. I just got the young chap to fire the flash with his spare hand when I had the shutter open.
I used the ‘Bulb’ setting on the camera and fired the shutter with a cable release – the simple, sensible type that screws into the shutter button. This is the type that you can no longer use because the camera manufacturers have stopped putting the screw thread in the shutter button. Clever – now you have to buy expensive electronic release cable or silly remote controls (have you ever tried using one of those things outdoors in the wet on a bitterly cold night?). Ggrrrr!
I set the aperture to f11. ISO 100 was used. The shutter speed would have been around 2 seconds.

It is a big mistake to try and use wide apertures with this type of shot. Those small Christmas tree lights can often appear as fuzzy little blobs at wide apertures. The magic starts at f11 – just look at the sparkle around the candle on the mantle piece. You do not need star filters to get this – just stop down and use a slower shutter speed.

1 comment:

John Hamshaw said...

Hello Philip
Congratulations on your marvellous blog site.
Happy New Year to you and Norene.
Best wishes
John Hamshaw